Commission approves €3 million Latvian scheme to support cultural institutions affected by coronavirus outbreak

The European Commission has approved a €3 million Latvian scheme to support companies active in the country’s cultural sector that have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The measure was approved under the State aid Temporary Framework. The aim of the scheme is to mitigate the sudden liquidity shortages that these companies are facing due to the restrictive measures implemented by the Latvian government to limit the spread of the virus. The support will take the form of direct grants. The measure is open to companies active in the country’s cultural sector. Beneficiaries include businesses active in arts and entertainment, libraries and museums. The support will serve to cover paid expenses for the period from 1 January 2021 till 30 June 2021. It will cover monthly payments, inter alia for the lease of premises, public utilities, and communication and IT services. It may also serve to cover salaries and related taxes for the employees. The Commission found that the Latvian scheme is in line with the conditions set out in the Temporary Framework. In particular, (i) the overall aid cap of €1.8 million per company will be respected; and (ii) the aid will be granted no later than 31 December 2021. The Commission concluded that the measure is necessary, appropriate and proportionate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy of a Member State, in line with Article 107(3)(b) TFEU and the conditions of the Temporary Framework. On this basis, the Commission approved the measure under EU State aid rules. More information on the Temporary Framework and other actions taken by the Commission to address the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic can be found here. The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.61769 in the State aid register on the Commission’s competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved.